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Zaheera misses court again

November 17, 2004 17:30 IST

Prime witness in Best Bakery case Zaheera Shaikh did not appear before the trial court in Mumbai Wednesday despite summons issued to her, but her counsel assured the judge that she would depose whenever required.

This is the second time that Zaheera and her brothers have been summoned by the court. Fresh summons were issued after they failed to turn up before the court on November 4.

Her lawyer Harshad Ponda informed the court Tuesday that Zaheera was ready to depose and urged the judge to fix a date to record her statement. The designated judge then suggested he consult the prosecution on a mutually convenient date.

Zaheera seeks NCW's protection  

Prosecutor Manjula Rao told reporters outside the court Wednesday that Zaheera had pledged to depose, and that the prosecution would excercise its discretion over the date. 

"We shall not take any chance now as she is under police security and all precautions have to be taken. But her brothers, Nafitulla and Nasibulla, would be examined soon", she said.

On November 3, Zaheera had told the Vadodara collector that she was being pressurised by social activist Teesta Setalvad to identify innocent persons as accused in the Mumbai court conducting re-trial in Best Bakery case.

Claiming that her original testimony before the fast track court in Gujarat was true, she alleged that she was forcibly taken to Mumbai by some locals at the behest of Setalvad and made to sign documents in English. Setalvad had "threatened her with dire consequences" if she did not cooperate, Zaheera said.

The Supreme Court had ordered retrial of the case in  Mumbai after Zaheera claimed that she had deposed before the trial court out of fear. Setalvad and her NGO had fought for a retrial outside Gujarat.  


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